Hello and welcome to my Union STR review.
In this review I will take a look at the STRs as all-mountain snowboard bindings.
As per tradition here at SnowboardingProfiles.com I will give the STR a score out of 100 (based on several factors) and see how they compare with other all-mountain bindings.
Bindings: Union STR 2018
Price: $179 (USD recommended retail)
Other Uses: Freestyle
Flex Rating: Baseplate = Medium (6/10), Highback = Medium (5/10)
Flex Feel: Medium (5/10)
Rating Score: 71.1/100
Compared to other Men’s All-Mountain Bindings
Out of the 23 men’s all-mountain bindings that I rated:
- The average score was 78.1/100
- The highest score was 93.7/100
- The lowest score was 58.4/100
- The average price was $264
- The STRs ranked 16th out of 23
Check out the table below for the available sizes for the STR.
|Size||Fits Men’s US Boot Sizes||Euro Boot Sizes||UK Boot Sizes|
|Small||5.0 - 8.5||37.0 - 41.0||4.0 - 7.5|
|Medium||8.0-11.0||40.5 - 44.0||7.0 - 10.0|
|Large||10.0 & up||43.0 & up||9.0 & up|
Who are the STRs Most Suited to?
The STRs are great for anyone looking for a low-cost binding that has a slightly stiffer flex than most low-cost bindings. Bindings tend to be cheaper as they are softer (not uniformly but generally speaking).
The STRs fill a gap, where you can get a mid flexing binding with some pretty good response for a beginner binding price-point.
So if you’ve graduated to that intermediate level of riding and are looking at getting a more responsive binding, but you don’t want to pay the average price for this type of binding, then the STR are a great option.
The STRs in More Detail
O.k. let’s take a more detailed look at what the STRs are capable of.
Bindings: Union STR 2018, Medium
Date: March 23, 2017
Conditions: : Snowing! Plenty of powder around from previous snow too. Snowing relatively heavily. Visibility was average to low. Snow was soft and nice but quite slow in patches.
Bindings angles: +15/-15
The STRs felt right in the mid-level flex, so I’d say 5/10 in terms of stiffness.
The high-back has a good amount of torsional flex and some flex laterally towards the top of the high back but the bottom of the high-back (as is typical) felt a lot more rigid.
Union is the only company I know of that publishes both high-back and baseplate flex as separate numbers – which is cool. Think I’ll just take their word on the baseplate’s flex – the higback was probably more of a 4/10 or 4.5/10 – but overall to me the feeling was a 5/10.
These bindings are relatively responsive. I didn’t expect as much out of a $179 pair of bindings. This was the most pleasant surprise from these bindings.
Not as responsive as their big brother Union Atlas, but also a bit softer flexing and a lot lower priced. And yeah definitely not as responsive as something like an all-mountain-freeride or freeride binding is going to be, but for an all-mountain-freestyle type binding, I found I got more than I expected for sure.
This was the low point of these bindings for me. They felt quite dead underfoot. I definitely like to have good board feel, so for me this is the main reason why I personally wouldn’t get these bindings. But not everyone is as hung up on board feel as I am!
There is a bit of adjustability in these bindings. The toe strap and ankle strap have plenty of positions you can put the straps in to make sure you get them centered over your boots.
Both ankle strap and toe strap require a screw driver to adjust. But if you’re only going to be setting them up once, this isn’t the end of the world. Tool-less is preferable for sure – but not essential.
High back lean is tool-less but only a small range of lean.
3 different heel cup positions too. I had mine at the farthest back position which I guess is the best as I am at the longer boot size for mediums.
Like every other Union binding that I’ve demoed, the STR have a good amount of padding underfoot and absorb shock well for a nice smooth ride and helps to be able to absorb the shock of flat landings (and poor landings – not that I do any of those 😉 ).
Let’s Break up this text with a Video
The Ratchets are pretty smooth – and a risk of repeating myself – great for this price-point. So, they are easy to get in and of. They’re relatively easy to set up too – the only thing is not having tool-less ankle and toe strap adjustments.
These bindings are really comfortable too. That’s in part due to the padding in the footbed (as mentioned under shock absorption) but also to do with the canting and the feel of the ankle strap and toe strap.
Another surprising thing at this price-point is that there is canting in the footbed.
Pretty typical of Union, the support for your ankle feels a bit looser compared to some bindings – and a lot of this comes down to the strap sitting relatively low on the ankle. If this more free, surfier feel is what you are after, then this is a non-issue but if you have ankle issues or just prefer a bit more ankle support, they may not be for you.
They’re not ultra-loose – I’ve definitely ridden looser – but they’re mid-level supportive.
Of all the bindings that I rated with a medium flex (23 bindings from 8 different brands) the STR come in at a cost nearly $100 cheaper than the average. For the response you get and in this flex range, these bindings are at a great price-point.
Changes from the 2017 Model
These bindings are new for 2018 – but the STR is an evolution of 2017s ST binding.
The main difference that I can tell is that the STR feels a little stiffer. The highbacks are different too – and have been stiffened up just a touch too. The baseplate has apparently been stiffened too – which I would believe as the overall feel was a little stiffer.
Score Breakdown and Final Verdict
Check out the breakdown of the score in the table below.
|FACTOR||RATING (OUT OF 5)||CONTRIBUTION TO FINAL SCORE|
|TOTAL after normalizing||71.1/100|
The STRs feel like a quality made binding, like all Union bindings I’ve demoed, and they seem durable, though I couldn’t say for sure on that.
If you’re not too concerned about a relatively dead board feel underfoot and are looking for bindings with reasonable response but at a significantly lower price-point than you’d normally pay for this kind of binding, then the STRs are definitely an option.
More Info, Current Prices and Where to Buy Online
If you’re interested in learning more about the STRs, are ready to buy or want to research prices and availability, check out the links below.
If you want to check out some other all-mountain binding options or want to compare the STR to others in this category, check out the link below.